Egusi Stew is a dish made typically with meat. Egusi (also known by variations including agusi, agushi) is the name for the fat- and protein-rich seeds of certain cucurbitaceous plants (squash, melon, gourd), which after being dried and ground, are used as a major ingredient in this delicious West African cuisine. This melon has its root in West Africa and unlike the juicy, red and sweet watermelon we all know, this is pale yellow or green on the inside and quite bitter. This melon is therefore grown mainly for its seeds which are grounded into a flour and used in making Egusi Soup. The nutritional benefits of Egusi are as follows:
Protein – The crude protein composition of Egusi stands at 23.4% making it comparable to other plant proteins food sources such as soybean, cowpeas and pumpkin seeds.
Fat (Oil) – The fat content is 45.7% which makes it comparable to pumpkin seeds in terms of its oil content. Now, before you decide to stop eating Egusi because of its fat content, it might interest you to know that the fats in Egusi comprise mainly of mono-unsaturated omega 9 fatty acids (15.9%) and polyunsaturated omega 6 fatty acids (62.8%).
Omega 6 fatty acids are known as ‘essential fatty acids’ because the human body needs them for healthy functioning but cannot make them by combining other food components; it, therefore, needs to be obtained from food and/or through supplements. The body needs this kind of fat.
Fiber – The fiber content from the research stood at 12% which is high compared to other legumes.
Carbohydrate – The carbohydrate content is quite low at 10.6% compared to other legumes which tend to have anywhere between 20-60% carbohydrate content, but this isn’t really a problem as Egusi soup is traditionally eaten with a carbohydrate-rich food.
Essential Amino acids – Egusi is rich in Arginine, Leucine, Isoleucine, Threonine, Phenylalanine, Valine, Histidine and Methionine.
Other Amino acids – Cystine, Tyrosine, Proline, Glutamic acid, Aspartic acid, Serine, Glycine and Alanine.
Minerals – Egusi is richest in the mineral Phosphorous, followed by Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, and Sodium. Other minerals include Iron, zinc, manganese, and copper.
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